My parents divorced when I was really young and I don’t really remember my first home. I know we lived on a golf course in the small town of Brooke, Indiana. Not that we were fancy but because my father was the grounds keeper and my mom worked as a waitress in the club house. When they divorced, my mom moved us to Rensselaer and into a small townhouse apartment. She got a better job and wanted the best education she could get for us. This resulted in all three of us girls being enrolled in Saint Augustine Catholic School. St. A was one of two elementary schools in Rensselaer and was considered a private school. We attended St. A from Preschool to 5th grade. After 5th grade, all schools were combined into public school.
St. A was, of course, a religious school, but you didn’t have to be Catholic to attend (you were still required to participate in all religious events though). We wore uniforms everyday unless it was a special day like picture day. We attended church every Friday morning as a class and contributed to mass by being ushers. We all did our first holy communion together in the 2nd grade. I’m a little rusty in the religious aspects of the school because I am no longer a catholic and can’t remember all the names or events. I think I’ve blocked it all out. But anyway, our principal was a nun, Sister Rosemary. And she was mean! I mean Ms. Trunchable mean. She was small but her attitude was huge and she could yell. She also really liked to point with her middle finger which always drew a chuckle from the kids. She left at one point to go to a different school where she made a bunch of reforms and became a prominent figure in Catholic education.
The elementary school sat right next to the church and had two play areas for recess. The playground which also had a large parking lot and large grassy lot across the road that we fondly called the Susan Lot. The school was also just a couple blocks away from the library, so every Tuesday we would go as a class and it was a popular hang out after school.
The school itself was very small with an L shaped hallway. The younger classes started at one end and curved around to the older grades at the short part of the L. There was a large gym that made up most of the buildings structure and is where we had gym class, art class, and ate lunch. They also offered an after school daycare type of deal in the gym if you didn’t want to ride the bus or your parents were running late. There was a small library in the gym too that used to be for storage.
The school was small and only offered one sport for us kids to participate in and that was basketball. There was a boys and girls team, if you tried out you were accepted mostly because there wouldn’t have been enough kids if they didn’t. We traveled just like other teams and it was really fun. I thought I was good at basketball even though I was on B-Team but I would soon find out that I was not as good as I thought. The school also offered cheerleading for the boys team and both my sisters did that.
I really liked our small school. You knew everyone and pretty much got along with everyone. We were all sort of forced to be friends since there were only 10 or 15 kids in each grade. Things would change when we got to middle school obviously but it was good while it lasted. I will definitely be posting more little stores of my time in catholic school but for now you at least have an overview of what it was like!